Major Powers Have Deal on Sanctions for Iran

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration announced an agreement on Tuesday with other major powers, including Russia and China, to impose a fourth set of sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program, setting the stage for an intense tug of war with Tehran as it tries to avoid passage of the penalties by the full United Nations Security Council.

The announcement came a day after Iranian leaders announced their own tentative deal, with Turkey and Brazil, to turn over about half of Iran’s stockpile of nuclear fuel for a year, part of a frantic effort to blunt the American-led campaign for harsher sanctions.

“This announcement is as convincing an answer to the efforts undertaken in Tehran over the last few days as any we could provide,” Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, describing the agreement as a “strong draft.”

On Wednesday, however, Russia seemed to strike a more ambivalent note when Foreign Minister Sergey V. Lavrov released a statement expressing cautious support for the draft resolution, but stressing that it is far from completion.

He said there is a “basic understanding” of the new draft, but that it must be approved by non-permanent members of the United Nations Security Council. If Washington and its European partners proceeded unilaterally, he said, the proposal “would go beyond decisions agreed upon by the international community and would run counter to the principle … >>>

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